Welcome back everyone to Once Upon a Time Tuesday! You have to know there was a tremendous amount of grinning and squealing on my part as OUaT kicked off season 2. I have so been looking forward to our discussions, and Broken leaves PLENTY of questions hanging in the air. I cannot wait to hear your theories!
(As always, just a reminder that I don't write recaps. Plenty of those abound, and I can tell you that you'll never be disappointed with Cindy McLennan's rundown of each episode at Television Without Pity.)
The opening scene with Michael-Raymond James making his way through a city to his apartment where the broken window won't close and the pigeon that leaves a Storybrooke postcard with the word Broken on it was highly intriguing. I'd like to note that this actor played the charming and completely crazy serial killer Rene in season 1 of True Blood. So good to have you back on my screen, mon cher! Oh, I was so hoping we would revisit him and his mystery in the closing scene, but no! This was all we get of him.
(PS - I loved the LOST feel to this opener. Remember the opening to "Man of Science, Man of Faith" (S2, E1) where we see Desmond doing his thing in the hatch and you're just like WHO IS THIS WHAT IS HAPPENING? This was like a little-less-intense-but-still-awesome version of that.)
So the first huge question of season 2 is who is he? For the record, I am 100% all in on the idea that he is Baelfire, Rumpelstiltskin's son. Has to be, don't you think? It would be incredibly sloppy, stupid writing to have an entire episode dedicated to their relationship and then Bae finding a portal to world without magic only to never follow up on his character. It makes perfect sense for him to be in what seems to be our world. (Although, one thing I've learned from watching sci-fi/fantasy shows is that just because something looks like OUR world does not mean it IS our world!)
So, then. Whether or not Mystery Man is Bae, there's still the question of who could have sent the postcard? Rumpel? Regina? Maybe August (which: excuse me, but where is he in this episode?!)?
Moving on, I guess I'll have to continue to make peace with the mixing of genre and characters in the Enchanted Forest. We have Prince Phillip working side-by-side with Mulan (!) to find Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty. I have to confess that even though Sleeping Beauty portrays one of the most helpless victims of circumstance and most passive of all the Princesses, it has always been a favorite of mine. SHHHHHHH. Do not tell my girls that.
And so I found Aurora's bravery and Tough Girl turn in Broken to be really satisfying and redeeming. What I'm unsure of is the relationship between Mulan and Phillip. How did they meet? Does she love Phillip, too? Puzzling partnership, though not totally off-putting.
And then we have our post-curse Storybrooke meltdowns. The town, predictably, turns on Regina. The angry mob is led by Dr. Whale. Oh, Dr. Whale. Who are you? You'll note in Cindy's recap that she's betting on him being Peter Pan. Maybe? Could be? It seems like most Storybrooke characters are tied in some way to their Enchanted Forest lives. I don't know the Peter Pan story well enough to see how to make that connection between the two, but feel free to take a stab at it if you have some theories.
Finally, the wraith! AKA Dementor. Amirite? The wraith is a slightly-less-scary version of Harry Potter's Dementors, and it ties to the two worlds together in this episode. The concept of a supernatural being that can suck your soul from you is fairly universal one and it was kind of cool to see it incorporated here.
A couple of themes stood out to me:
Abandonment: It was kind of painful to watch Emma respond to MM/Snow's enthusiasm at their reunion. Both perspectives were very much in character: Emma has been hurting for a long time over being abandoned by her parents as a baby; Snow White is thrilled to finally have her daughter. Emma has barely had time to come to terms with the idea of the existence of an Enchanted Forest, let alone the fact that HER PARENTS ARE SNOW WHITE AND PRINCE CHARMING. And they are basically the same age. I wish Snow could have given Emma some room to process, but she kept pressing Emma to TALK TALK TALK about it. Does she even know Emma?
I felt like this could be a painful plot point for adoptive families, and I don't even feel a little bit qualified to talk really pick this theme apart. It's been a running theme from the start, first explored in Emma and Henry, and then as last season progressed, finding out more about how Emma grew up.
Love - its power and limitations: We know that True Love broke the curse when Emma kissed dying Henry in "A Land Without Magic." It has the power to awaken Aurora from the sleeping curse. Henry's love for Regina has the power to stop the mob from killing her. And love compels Snow to jump in to Jefferson's hat when Emma is sucked into it.
However, Belle's love for Rumpel doesn't loosen his grasp on magic and the need for power. Though Henry's love for Regina stopped her from being killed, she still is thisclose to killing David before Henry walks in.
So it seems that True Love continues to be an extremely strong, compelling force in both worlds, but even it has its limits.
Finally, time travel: So our writers - Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz - are no strangers to weaving plot lines that incorporate time travel. Their work on LOST - particularly in the last seasons - deals heavily in the concept. So what do we do with the timing in Broken? Obviously, the Phillip/Aurora/Mulan story is not a flashback in the way that the Enchanted Forest storylines from season 1. But was their storyline unfolding in real time parallel to Storybrooke's? Or was it slightly in the future?
Lots to think about.
And here I am at 1000 words, so I'm turning it over to you guys. What do you think? What are the true identities of both Mystery Man in the City and Dr. Whale? Who sent the postcard? Will Snow and Emma be trapped in the Enchanted Forest the whole season? Where will things go with Mr. Gold, Regina, David, and Henry? Let's dish it all on the season 2 opener of Once Upon a Time!